In A valley filled with resorts and vacation getaway spots, there is something special about Indian Wells. It’s noticeable as soon as you drive into this pretty cove protected by the majestic Eisenhower Mountain. There are no billboards, neon signs or commercial clutter. Instead, visitors are greeted by manicured flowerbeds in the medians and a palm-lined state highway that runs through its 15 square miles. The 5,000 full-time residents (a number that doubles during “the season,” from January through April) feel a real sense of community, helped along by a full calendar of cultural and social events. This year, the city’s two top-rated public golf courses were linked by a dramatic new clubhouse several years in the making. Indian Wells was named in 1823 for a 30-foot well hand-dug by women of the Cahuilla Indian village located here. Later, gold prospectors sought out the settlement as a watering hole, and the town has been prosperous ever since. When Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz opened the Indian Wells Hotel in 1958, the city established its reputation as a celebrity retreat. Today, Indian Wells is home to seven private country clubs and many gated neighborhoods, and remains a tranquil, well-maintained residential city. Its 350 days of sunshine each year, top golf courses and hideaway spas are a powerful attraction for those seeking a fail-proof vacation spot. The natural beauty of the mountains, clean air, spring water and ever-blooming gardens invite residents and guests to slow down and decompress from life’s challenges. The Coachella Valley region is a fascinating mix of desert and alpine climates. Home to the world’s largest collect ion of mid-20th century modern architect ure, it also boasts new casinos and galleries, and plenty of outdoor attractions. ATTRACTIONS The LIVING DESERT WILDLIFE & BOTANICAL PARK. 47-900 Portola Ave., Palm Desert. 760-346-5694. The hills above Palm Desert contain 1,200 acres of wilderness teeming with desert flora and fauna, including 400 desert animals: zebras, cheetahs, coyotes, meerkats, mountain lions, bighorn sheep, golden eagles, desert tortoises and bobcats. INDIAN CANYONS. 308 Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs. 760-323-6018. The ancestral home of the Cahuilla Indians— now owned by their descendants, the Agua Caliente Indians—is open for hiking, biking, horseback rides and Jeep tours. PALM SPRINGS AERIAL TRAMWAY. One Tramway Road, Palm Springs. 888- 515-TRAM, 760-325-1391. No matter how hot the desert day, you can easily feel 40 degrees cooler with only a quick trip up the face of Mount San Jacinto. The 80-passenger Swiss-made tram cars, the only ones of their kind in the United States, rotate slowly all the way up the mountain. All passengers get 360-degree views of the Coachella Valley as the cars make their way up and down the slope. During the 14-minute ride, you’ll rise 2.5 miles from the desert to the expansive alpine wilderness of Mount San Jacinto State Park, 8,516 feet above sea level. During the winter snow season, crosscountry skiing, snowshoeing and tubing are popular. Fifty-four miles of hiking trails and mule rides await the adventurous. The rest can opt for lunch or dinner with spectacular views at The Pines Café cafeteria or at Peaks Restaurant, which serves California cuisine. FABULOUS PALM SPRINGS FOLLIES. Plaza Theatre, 128 S. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs. 760-327-0225. A changing cast of well-known headliners is joined by a lively troupe of ex-chorines from Broadway and Hollywood, all over 50, who kick up a storm in Spandex, mesh tights and spectacular feathered costumes. PALM SPRINGS AIR MUSEUM. 745 N. Gene Autry Trail, Palm Springs. 760-778- 6262. Two large hangars house one of the largest collections of World War II aircraft, some of which can still put on a show on weekends. The display is divided into the European Theater and the Pacific Theater. Aviation films run all day. PALM SPRINGS ART MUSEUM. 101 Museum Drive, Palm Springs. 760-322-4800. The premier art museum in the Valley has a permanent collection rich in works by contemporary American artists, photographers and architects. Located in the lower level is the well-regarded Annenberg Theater (760- 325-4490), offering an eclectic schedule of stage productions and musical performers. KNOTT’S SOAK CITY. 1500 S. Gene Autry Trail, Palm Springs. 760-327-0499. Hold on to your hat; it’s bound to get soaked somewhere at this water park jam-packed with attractions. There are 22 water rides, including 18 water slides in varying degrees of “screamishness,” along with a giant wave action pool generating 4- to 5-foot waves. The park is open from mid-March through September. INDIAN WELLS TENNIS GARDEN. 78-200 Miles Ave., Indian Wells. 760-200-8400. Don’t let the name mislead you; there’s more than tennis going on in Indian Wells. The Garden doubles as an entertainment complex, with major concerts and other attractions. Tennis, however, is its mainstay: During March, the 16,100-seat sunken arena hosts the fifth largest tournament in the world, the BNP Paribas Open. DINING There’s been a restaurant explosion in this desert paradise in recent years, with elegant new steakhouses and Pacific Rim restaurants joining veteran Italian and Continental establishments, small ethnic eateries and tucked-away family-run favorites. In the east end of the Valley, there’s a worldfamous golfer’s own namesake restaurant, complete with his golfing memorabilia, as well as several extraordinary French restaurants, upscale Thai venues and dozens Of authentic Mexican eateries, where you can preview the tamales that highlight the annual tamale festival in Indio. Downtown Palm Springs has a locally owned hamburger stand with some of the best burgers in southern California. Topnotch, reasonably priced fish is the specialty of another local chain. Throughout the Valley, there are delis that serve generous breakfasts, dinner-only bistros where chefs put their personal interpretations on California cuisine, and family-friendly restaurants with plenty of salad and sandwich choices. Coffeehouses have proliferated in recent years, open early and late for specialty drinks and snacks. Casinos also have become known for their range of dining experiences, from delis and sushi bars to white-tablecloth restaurants. Overwhelmingly, the dress code for desert dining is casual. Pull on shorts or pants, a tropical shirt and sandals, and you are usually good to go. Although there are fine dining establishments where cocktail attire is worn, more often than not, resort casual rules. NIGHTLIFE Whether you are looking for glitz and glamour, a good movie or play, or a nighttime stroll under the desert skies, the area has no shortage of after-dark entertainment. Desert nights are alluring, and balmy temperatures entice visitors outside. In the east Valley, La Quinta’s downtown Old Town shopping and entertainment district comes alive at night, thanks to its new collection of restaurants and cafés, many with outdoor seating. It’s fun to windowshop and people-watch on Palm Desert’s El Paseo—the Rodeo Drive of the desert— with its designer boutiques, first-rate art galleries, bistros and cafés. In the spring, the area’s Garden entertainment and shopping complex hosts regular outdoor jazz concerts. The nearby McCallum Theatre in Palm Desert offers an October through May lineup of major performers and traveling Broadway productions normally found only in larger cities. Heading west, drop in at Rancho Mirage’s River, an outdoor entertainment complex built around waterfalls and meandering streams. It’s the site of several specialty restaurants, interesting boutiques, outdoor shopping kiosks and a popular multiplex theater with stadium seating. Cathedral City, on the way to Palm Springs, is the site of a newer multiplex, this one with an Art Deco theme, and features the Valley’s only IMAX Theater. Downtown Palm Springs comes alive on Thursday nights with a vibrant street fair called VillageFest. Vendors offer fresh flowers and produce, crafts, gifts and artwork, along with live music. Palm Springs’ Palm Canyon Drive, downtown’s main drag, boasts a wide range of restaurants, as well as wine bars, lounges and theater. If blackjack and slots call your name, you’ll hear that call from gaming casinos in every direction from your resort hideaway. Play at the tables and then catch some Vegas-style entertainment. SPORTS Even though there are more than 100 golf courses in the Valley, new ones are on the drawing board. Tennis is also a huge draw here, as is polo, which attracts players and fans from around the globe. The mountains ringing the Valley provide ample opportunities for hiking, both at lower elevations and at higher alpine settings. GOLF AND TENNIS. The Hyatt Grand Champions Resort, Villas and Spa hosts two championship golf courses that have recently been lengthened and redesigned ,and a new 53,000-square-foot clubhouse has been added. After you’ve challenged yourself on our courses, check with the resort’s Golf Coordinator, located in the lobby, to try some of the other noteworthy courses in the area. The resort, which is Adjacent to the world-class Indian Wells Tennis Garden, hosts a major ATP tennis tournament each spring, and has several tennis courts on its grounds. POLO. Coming in a close third in major sports offerings in the Valley is polo. Indio’s two world-class polo fields feature frequent matches and are open to the public. The U. S. Polo Association hosts international professional players from November through April each year. HIKING. A hiker’s paradise, the Valley offers unique trails through rocky hills, lush palm canyons and wildflower-covered desert floors. The Palm Springs Indian Canyons area, with hidden tranquil pools, waterfalls and Indian drawings, is a compelling place to take a hike or ride a horse. SNOW PLAY. It’s possible to swim and relax poolside all morning, then frolic in the snow later in the day. The wintertime trip up the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway takes you to a wonderland of snowy fun, from snowshoeing to sledding. Less than an hour’s drive up the scenic Palms to Pines Highway is another locale for snowy winter fun in Idyllwild, with its quaint cafés and several places to run a sled. SHOPPING From the latest designer offerings to consignment bargains, the Valley presents lots of great shopping experiences. Our own version of the Beverly Hills shopping district is Palm Desert’s El Paseo shopping avenue. The street, though lined with designer boutiques and national specialty retailers, also features a wealth of art galleries, antique shops and interesting restaurants. Down the center, the boulevard is marked by flowerbeds and a changing collection of art sculptures. A two-level Westfield Shoppingtown is less than a mile away. The Valley’s newest shopping and entertainment area is La Quinta’s Old Town. Despite the name, it’s a brand new collection of restaurants in the downtown area featuring specialty pizza, neighborhood bistros and more, along with a wine shop, art gallery and gift boutiques. Rancho Mirage’s River complex, an open-air entertainment center built around streams and waterfalls, offers specialty shopping amid its dining and movie fare. Many of the shops are open late, so you can take an evening stroll and browse for books, jewelry and art. Downtown Palm Springs is known for its unparalleled selection of vintage stores dealing in mid-century modern furniture, accessories and artwork. World-famous architects worked here in the ‘40s through the ‘70s, so regular tours and exhibits are devoted to their spare, low-slung “desert modern” buildings. Thanks also to the area’s role as a resort and retirement destination— where newcomers jettison their old furniture and clothing for desert-style replacements—consignment and resale shops have sprung up around the desert. There are more than 100 such shops in the Valley, with most located in Palm Springs. They offer everything from evening gowns worn by celebrities to furniture from wellknown designers. Street fairs are another popular desert shopping and entertainment experience. In downtown Palm Springs, Palm Canyon Drive closes each Thursday night for VillageFest. This colorful street fair combines artisan goods with produce, flowers, live music and tasty food booths. Another street fair in the Valley takes place every Saturday and Sunday morning in Palm Desert. The College of the Desert (COD) Street Fair provides bazaar-style shopping among booths that offer everything from hand-crafted jewelry to golf balls and straw hats. Of course, you’ll find an abundance of fresh produce and food to fortify you as you make your way from booth to booth. Allison Engel lives in Indian Wells and is a contributor to many national magazines and newspapers.
Published by HCP Media. View All Articles.
This page can be found at http://destinationhyatt.customtravelmags.com/article/An+Oasis+Of+Calm/227811/22657/article.html.